Saturday, April 20, 2013

Kale Chips with Coconut

There may be those who feel that kale has had its day, but it has long ranked with broccoli as my favorite vegetable and will continue to be a mainstay in our home long after it is unfashionable everywhere else.
Here is a simplified take on Heidi Swanson's kale salad with toasted coconut from Super Natural Every Day. While her original recipe is good, I found it too oily for gobbling straight up as kale chips, as the family does. I pared everything way down and omitted the sesame oil entirely. I also used a PCC Cooks suggestion and lowered my oven temp to 300. As a result, I finally have a recipe that turns out perfect (for our family's taste) every time. It doesn't take long for a whole bunch of kale to disappear.

INGREDIENTS
1 large bunch dinosaur/ lacinato/ black/ Tuscan kale
1 TBSP olive or grapeseed oil
1-2 tsp soy sauce
1/4-1/2 c. unsweetened large coconut flakes (though small shreds will do)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and set out 1-2 baking trays
  2. Give the kale a good soak in a tub of water to remove any dirt and critters that tend to sink to the bottom
  3. Take the large stem out of the center of the kale--I do this by hand but you could use scissors or a knife
  4. Tear the kale into large bite-sized pieces and dry in a salad spinner or with a towel
  5. Place in a very large bowl and sprinkle over the coconut  
  6. Whisk together the oil and soy sauce in a small bowl until they are well-blended, then pour over the kale and coconut
  7. Using your hands, work the oil/soy mixture into every nook and cranny of the kale
  8. Spread the kale and coconut over 1-2 baking trays, trying not to overlap it too much
  9. Bake at 300 for 12 minutes then turn with a spatula. Continue baking until the kale chips are crisp and the coconut is golden brown
  10. Eat fresh from the oven or store at room temp in an air-tight container for up to a day. They never last that long in our house!


Chickpea and Vegetable Pancakes

The baby has had a rough week what with a virus and pushing through her top two teeth. This made her a terrible sleeper and a worse eater. Now that she is feeling better, I wanted to find something new and nutritious to tempt her palate. Enter chickpea pancakes. I discovered socca recently when looking for a good GF appetizer and I am familiar with pakoras. I knew that there must be a way to make a carrot and chickpea flour pancake. I did an Internet search and found a few good candidates. I took ideas from each and made my own thing. We are getting wonderful free-range organic eggs from a friend these days, so I knew I wanted egg yolk in there. I threw in some kale because, well, I always throw in kale. I wouldn't say that this first batch is exciting since I didn't put in any spices, but I like the texture and subtle flavor and feel it could be a good blank canvas for spices (Indian, Moroccan, Middle Eastern come to mind, maybe even my beloved smoked paprika) and veggies such as sweet potato, regular potato, summer squash,etc. No idea what the baby thinks yet but this one will be in the family rotation for a while.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c. chickpea flour
1/4 c. plus 1 TBSP water
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Spices to taste adding up to no more than 1/4-1/2 tsp
1/4 c. grated vegetable (carrot, potato, summer squash, etc)
1-2 TBSP finely chopped or ground kale
Olive oil for the pan

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine chickpea flour, water, salt, spices and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir in the grated vegetables
  2. Heat about 1tsp olive oil in a small pan on medium-high heat. I like to use our small cast iron pan
  3. Add a large spoonful (about 1/8 c. I'd guess) to the pan and cook until set on the top and lightly brown on the bottom
  4. Flip and cook on the other side until the middle springs back when touched. The pancakes cook in 2-3 minutes total
  5. Remove from pan and serve, maybe with some sort of delicious dipping sauce or an unsweetened fruit sauce for baby